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What to put in your suitcase when travelling in Iceland

Iceland is a destination that is located close to the polar circle and is quite cold. Even if negative temperatures are not that extreme, due to its closeness to the Gulf Stream, temperatures remain low all year round.

In summer temperatures can vary between 0° and 20°C and in winter, between 0° and -20°C. The weather is very changeable and it is not unusual to be subjected to all 4 seasons in the same day!

The rain and the wind are the two enemies to overcome with a windcheater and clothes that are warm and waterproof. You must always check the latest weather forecast and the roads before setting off and be ready to adapt your itinerary to the weather conditions. 

Iceland being a nature destination, most of your clothes should be conducive to walking for more or less prolonged periods, with sturdy shoes and clothes that are baggy and comfortable, warm and waterproof. Avoid umbrellas which are useless with the wind! In the same way, evening or overly formal clothes will not really be useful during your stay.

Do not underestimate the sun's strength, you will need sunscreen and sunglasses, as well as a swimming suit if you hope to enjoy the hot springs. 

It is possible to get kitted out on the spot, mainly in Reykjavik or Akureyri, but it will cost you more. The woolen items are of excellent quality and offer perfect protection against the cold. 

In Iceland, animal watching is easy, there are birds, seals, whales (only during excursions) and also sheep, reindeer or arctic foxes, so take along a pair of binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens. In winter it is possible to see the northern lights, so take along the equipment needed to protect your camera from the cold. 

The internet network is well-developed and it is possible to buy a SIM card on the spot in most filling stations. 

Things to pack in your suitcase:

  1. A blindfold for the night to protect yourself from the midnight sun in summer
  2. A camera and binoculars
  3. Sunglasses
  4. A swim suit to be able to enjoy the hot springs
  5. Camping gear in summer to visit the hinterland
  6. Gaiters and anti-skid soles in winter
  7. Sunscreen, lip balm and a moisturising cream.
  8. Gloves, a hat and a scarf
  9. A warm jacket, windcheater and raincoat
  10. Warm fleece and woolen clothes
  11. Hiking boots
Emmanuelle Bluman
163 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018